Nancy L Van Devanter


Nancy L Van Devanter headshot

Nancy L Van Devanter


1 212 998 5328

433 First Avenue
Room 670
New York, NY 10010
United States

Nancy L Van Devanter's additional information

Nancy L. Van Devanter, PhD, is a professor at the Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Since the 1990s, she has conducted behavioral intervention research integrating a community-based participatory research approach into the development and testing of theory-driven interventions to promote health and reduce disease in populations with significant health disparities in HIV, STDs, and tobacco-related disease. She has also worked in close collaboration with state and local health departments to develop programs improve community-level health and public health practice. Since coming to NYU, she has been involved in numerous interdisciplinary collaborative studies with the NYU School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Public Health Program.

She received a PhD from Columbia University School of Public Health, MPH from Harvard School of Public Health, and EdM from Boston University.


PhD - Columbia University School of Public Health (1992)
MPH - Harvard School of Public Health (1985)
EdM - Boston University (1975)
BS - Boston University (1974)
Diploma - St Agnes School of Nursing (1964)


American Nurses Association
American Public Health Association
American Sociological Association
Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science
Public Health Association of New York City

Faculty Honors Awards

Fellow, American Academy of Nursing (2011)
Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine (2011)
Fellowship in STD Prevention Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1999)
Public Health Achievement Award, New York City Department of Health/ Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University (1999)
Commendation, Office the Secretary, US Department of Health and Human Services for contribution to the National AIDS Education Prevention Program (1998)


Attributes of High-Performing Small Practices in a Guideline Implementation: A Multiple-Case Study

Nguyen, A. M., Cuthel, A. M., Rogers, E. S., Van Devanter, N., Pham-Singer, H., Shih, S., Berry, C. A., & Shelley, D. R. (2020). Journal of Primary Care and Community Health, 11. 10.1177/2150132720984411
Objective: HealthyHearts NYC was a stepped wedge randomized control trial that tested the effectiveness of practice facilitation on the adoption of cardiovascular disease guidelines in small primary care practices. The objective of this study was to identify was to identify attributes of small practices that signaled they would perform well in a practice facilitation intervention implementation. Methods: A mixed methods multiple-case study design was used. Six small practices were selected representing 3 variations in meeting the practice-level benchmark of >70% of hypertensive patients having controlled blood pressure. Inductive and deductive approaches were used to identify themes and assign case ratings. Cross-case rating comparison was used to identify attributes of high performing practices. Results: Our first key finding is that the high-performing and improved practices in our study looked and acted similarly during the intervention implementation. The second key finding is that 3 attributes emerged in our analysis of determinants of high performance in small practices: (1) advanced use of the EHR; (2) dedicated resources and commitment to quality improvement; and (3) actively engaged lead clinician and office manager. Conclusions: These attributes may be important determinants of high performance, indicating not only a small practice’s capability to engage in an intervention but possibly also its readiness to change. We recommend developing tools to assess readiness to change, specifically for small primary care practices, which may help external agents, like practice facilitators, better translate intervention implementations to context.

Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment in the Dominican Republic: Perspectives of Focus Group Participants in the Santo Domingo Area

Liebermann, E. J., VanDevanter, N., Shirazian, T., Frías Gúzman, N., Niles, M., Healton, C., & Ompad, D. (2020). Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 31(2), 121-127. 10.1177/1043659619846247
Introduction: Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the Dominican Republic, and high rates persist despite existing Pap smear screening programs. The purpose of this study was to explore Dominican women’s knowledge and attitudes regarding human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer, cervical cancer screening practices, and perceived barriers and facilitators to early detection of cervical cancer. Method: Six focus groups (N = 64) were conducted in Spanish in urban, suburban, and rural locations, in private and public school settings, community and workplace settings, in or near Santo Domingo, as part of a larger study on barriers and facilitators to HPV vaccine implementation. Audio recordings were transcribed verbatim and translated from Spanish to English. Qualitative data analysis used inductive and deductive approaches. Results: Knowledge regarding HPV and cervical cancer varied across groups, but all agreed there was significant stigma and fear regarding HPV. Most women reported having Pap screening at least yearly. Follow-up of abnormal Pap testing was less consistent, with cost and uncertainty about provider recommendations identified as barriers. Discussion: Broader examination of provider-level and health system barriers and facilitators to cervical cancer prevention in the Dominican Republic is essential, in order to inform interventions to improve the effectiveness of cervical cancer screening and treatment programs and reduce preventable deaths.

Dominican Provider Attitudes Towards HPV Testing for Cervical Cancer Screening and, Current Challenges to Cervical Cancer Prevention in the Dominican Republic: a Mixed Methods Study

Liebermann, E., Van Devanter, N., Frías Gúzman, N., Hammer, M. J., & Ompad, D. (2020). Journal of Cancer Education. 10.1007/s13187-020-01746-w
Creating effective programs for cervical cancer prevention is essential to avoid premature deaths from cervical cancer. The Dominican Republic has persistently high rates of cervical cancer, despite the availability of Pap smear screening. This study explored Dominican provider attitudes towards human papillomavirus (HPV) testing and current challenges to effective cervical cancer prevention. In this Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR)–driven mixed methods study, we conducted in-depth interviews (N = 21) and surveys (N = 202) with Dominican providers in Santo Domingo and Monte Plata provinces regarding their perspectives on barriers to cervical cancer prevention and their knowledge and attitudes towards HPV testing as an alternative to Pap smear. Providers believed the main barrier to cervical cancer prevention was lack of cervical cancer awareness and resulting inadequate population screening coverage. Providers felt that Pap smear was widely available to women in the Dominican Republic and were unsure how a change to HPV testing for screening would address gaps in current cervical cancer screening programs. A subset of providers felt HPV testing offered important advantages for early detection of cervical cancer and were in favor of more widespread use. Cost of the HPV test and target age for screening with HPV testing were the main barriers to acceptability. Providers had limited knowledge of HPV testing as a screening test. The group was divided in terms of the potential impact of a change in screening test in addressing barriers to cervical cancer prevention in the Dominican Republic. Findings may inform interventions to disseminate global evidence-based recommendations for cervical cancer screening.

Dominican Provider Practices for Cervical Cancer Screening in Santo Domingo and Monte Plata Provinces

Liebermann, E., Hammer, M. J., Gúzman, N. F., Van Devanter, N., & Ompad, D. (2020). Journal of Cancer Education. 10.1007/s13187-020-01690-9
Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the Dominican Republic. Pap smear screening in the Dominican Republic has not achieved adequate reduction in cervical cancer mortality. The purpose of this study was to examine Dominican provider practices for cervical cancer screening and the use of national or international screening guidelines. We surveyed 101 gynecology specialists, 50 non-specialists, and 51 obstetrics-gynecology residents in the Santo Domingo and Monte Plata provinces of the Dominican Republic regarding their cervical cancer screening practices and use of guidelines. Bivariate (chi-square) analyses were conducted to compare screening practices by demographic and practice characteristics. The majority of providers followed WHO guidelines (62.9%) and/or Dominican national norms (59.4%). The majority (87%) of providers use time since first sexual activity as the basis for screening initiation; 96% advise screening every 6–12 months. The most commonly used screening test is the conventional Pap smear. Colposcopy was recommended most often for all abnormal Pap results. Dominican providers report they follow national and/or international cervical cancer screening guidelines. They do not follow age-based screening guidelines, nor have they adopted an extended interval for screening and continue to recommend screening at least annually. A culture of early and frequent screening has consequences in terms of cost, high demand for follow-up services, and reduced capacity to reach the populations at highest risk. Early screening also may challenge the acceptability of adopting alternative screening technologies such as HPV testing.

Parent-Level Barriers and Facilitators to HPV Vaccine Implementation in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Liebermann, E., Devanter, N. V., Frías Gúzman, N., Ompad, D., Shirazian, T., & Healton, C. (2020). Journal of Community Health, 45(5), 1061-1066. 10.1007/s10900-020-00830-y
Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the Dominican Republic. Vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) could reduce mortality from cervical cancer globally by as much as 90%. The purpose of our study was to explore multi-level barriers and facilitators to implementation of a national HPV vaccine program in the Dominican Republic; this article focuses on parent-level barriers and facilitators. In this qualitative study, we conducted six focus groups (N = 64) with parents of school-age children in the Santo Domingo area of the Dominican Republic, representing diverse socioeconomic groups and geographic settings. Thematic content analysis, using inductive and deductive approaches, was done following transcription and translation of audio-recordings from focus group discussions. Among this group of parents in the Santo Domingo area, facilitators to vaccine uptake were favorable attitudes towards vaccines in general and concern about cervical cancer as a health issue. Barriers found were low to moderate knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer, especially in the rural and suburban groups, and cost and lack of public awareness of the vaccine. This study identified key barriers and facilitators to HPV vaccine implementation in the Dominican Republic. Health messaging, incorporating specialist providers as opinion leaders, will need to be tailored to broad audiences with varying levels of information and awareness, anticipating misinformation and concerns, and will need to emphasize HPV vaccine as a method to prevent cancer.

A qualitative assessment of factors influencing implementation and sustainability of evidence-based tobacco use treatment in Vietnam health centers

VanDevanter, N., Vu, M., Nguyen, A., Nguyen, T., Van Minh, H., Nguyen, N. T., & Shelley, D. R. (2020). Implementation Science, 15(1). 10.1186/s13012-020-01035-6
Background: Effective strategies are needed to increase implementation and sustainability of evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment (TDT) in public health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Our two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial (VQuit) found that a multicomponent implementation strategy was effective in increasing provider adherence to TDT guidelines in commune health center (CHCs) in Vietnam. In this paper, we present findings from a post-implementation qualitative assessment of factors influencing effective implementation and program sustainability. Methods: We conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews (n = 52) with 13 CHC medical directors (i.e., physicians), 25 CHC health care providers (e.g., nurses), and 14 village health workers (VHWs) in 13 study sites. Interviews were transcribed and translated into English. Two qualitative researchers used both deductive (guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research) and inductive approaches to analysis. Results: Facilitators of effective implementing of TDT included training and point-of-service tools (e.g., desktop chart with prompts for offering brief counseling) that increased knowledge and self-efficacy, patient demand for TDT, and a referral system, available in arm 2, which reduced the provider burden by shifting more intensive cessation counseling to a trained VHW. The primary challenges to sustainability were competing priorities that are driven by the Ministry of Health and may result in fewer resources for TDT compared with other health programs. However, providers and VHWs suggested several options for adapting the intervention and implementation strategies to address challenges and increasing engagement of local government committees and other sectors to sustain gains. Conclusion: Our findings offer insights into how a multicomponent implementation strategy influenced changes in the delivery of evidence-based TDT. In addition, the results illustrate the dynamic interplay between barriers and facilitators for sustaining TDT at the policy and community/practice level, particularly in the context of centralized public health systems like Vietnam’s. Sustaining gains in practice improvement and clinical outcomes will require strategies that include ongoing engagement with policymakers and other stakeholders at the national and local level, and planning for adaptations and subsequent resource allocations in order to meet the World Health Organization’s goals promoting access to effective treatment for all tobacco users.

Effectiveness of Village Health Worker-Delivered Smoking Cessation Counseling in Vietnam

Jiang, N., Siman, N., Cleland, C. M., Van Devanter, N., Nguyen, T., Nguyen, N., & Shelley, D. (2019). Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 21(11), 1524-1530. 10.1093/ntr/nty216
Introduction: Smoking prevalence is high in Vietnam, yet tobacco dependence treatment (TDT) is not widely available. Methods: We conducted a quasiexperimental study that compared the effectiveness of health care provider advice and assistance (ARM 1) versus ARM 1 plus village health worker (VHW) counseling (ARM 2) on abstinence at 6-month follow-up. This study was embedded in a larger two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial conducted in 26 community health centers (CHCs) in Vietnam. Subjects (N = 1318) were adult patients who visited any participating CHC during the parent randomized controlled trial intervention period and were self-identified as current tobacco users (cigarettes and/or water pipe). Results: At 6-month follow-up, abstinences rates in ARM 2 were significantly higher than those in ARM 1 (25.7% vs. 10.5%; p <. 001). In multivariate analyses, smokers in ARM 2 were almost three times more likely to quit compared with those in ARM 1 (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.78% to 4.92%). Compared to cigarette-only smokers, water pipe-only smokers (AOR = 0.4, 95% CI = 0.26% to 0.62%) and dual users (AOR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.45% to 0.86%) were less likely to achieve abstinence; however, the addition of VHW counseling (ARM 2) was associated with higher quit rates compared with ARM 1 alone for all smoker types. Conclusion: A team approach in TDT programs that offer a referral system for health care providers to refer smokers to VHW-led cessation counseling is a promising and potentially scalable model for increasing access to evidence-based TDT and increasing quit rates in low middle-income countries (LMICs). TDT programs may need to adapt interventions to improve outcomes for water pipe users. Implications: The study fills literature gaps on effective models for TDT in LMICs. The addition of VHW-led cessation counseling, available through a referral from primary care providers in CHCs in Vietnam, to health care provider's brief cessation advice, increased 6-month biochemically validated abstinence rates compared to provider advice alone. The study also demonstrated the potential effectiveness of VHW counseling on reducing water pipe use. For LMICs, TDT programs in primary care settings with a referral system to VHW-led cessation counseling might be a promising and potentially scalable model for increasing access to evidence-based treatment.

On the way to Hepatitis C elimination in the Republic of Georgia—Barriers and facilitators for people who inject drugs for engaging in the treatment program: A formative qualitative study

Chikovani, I., Ompad, D. C., Uchaneishvili, M., Sulaberidze, L., Sikharulidze, K., Hagan, H., & Van Devanter, N. L. (2019). PloS One, 14(4). 10.1371/journal.pone.0216123
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a significant public health concern worldwide. Georgia is among the countries with a high burden of HCV infection. People who inject drugs (PWID) have the highest burden of infection in Georgia. In 2015, the Government of Georgia, with partners’ support, initiated one of the world’s first Hepatitis C Elimination Programs. Despite notable progress, challenges to achieving targets persist. This qualitative study is aimed to better understand some of the barriers and facilitators to HCV testing and treatment services for PWID to inform HCV treatment policies and practices. The study instrument examined social, structural, and individual factors influencing HCV testing and treatment practices. We started with key informant interviews to guide the study instrument development and compare the study findings against health care planners’ and health care providers’ views. Forty PWID with various HCV testing and treatment experiences were recruited through the snowball method. The study found that along with structural factors such as political commitment, co-financing of diagnostic and monitoring tests, and friendly clinic environments, knowledge about HCV infection and elimination program benefits, and support from family and peers also play facilitating roles in accessing testing and treatment services. On the other hand, inability to co-pay for diagnostic tests, fear of side effects associated with treatment, poor knowledge about HCV infection, and lack of social support hampered testing and treatment practices among PWID. Findings from this study are important for increasing the effectiveness of this unique program that targets a population at high risk of HCV infection.

Social and Cultural Barriers to Women’s Participation in Pap Smear Screening Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Latin American and Caribbean Countries: An Integrative Review

Liebermann, E. J., VanDevanter, N., Hammer, M. J., & Fu, M. R. (2018). Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 29(6), 591-602. 10.1177/1043659618755424
Purpose: Pap smear screening programs have been ineffective in reducing cervical cancer mortality in most Latin American and Caribbean countries, in part due to low screening rates. The purpose of this review was to analyze recent studies to identify demographic, social, and cultural factors influencing women’s participation in Pap screening programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. Design/Method: For this integrative review, cervical cancer screening in Latin America and the Caribbean was searched using PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, and PsycINFO databases. Findings/Results: Demographic barriers to screening were socioeconomic status, education, race/ethnicity, and geography. Social barriers included lack of uniformity in screening guidelines, lack of knowledge regarding cervical cancer, and lack of preventive culture. Cultural barriers were fear/embarrassment and gender roles. Conclusions: There are multilevel barriers to Pap smear utilization among women in Latin America and the Caribbean. Implications for Practice: Findings highlight a need for health system engagement, promotion of preventive care, and community-generated educational programs and solutions.

Social norms and self-efficacy to quit waterpipe use: Findings from a tobacco study among male smokers in rural Viet Nam

Kumar, P. C., Cleland, C. M., Latkin, C., VanDevanter, N., Siman, N., Nguyen, T., Nguyen, L., Nguyen, N., & Shelley, D. (2018). Journal of Smoking Cessation, 13(3), 154-161. 10.1017/jsc.2017.20
Introduction: Waterpipe use is a significant health concern in low- A nd middle-income countries like Viet Nam, yet there is a lack of research on factors that may influence use and self-efficacy to quit among adults. Aims: This study examined the relationship between social norms related to waterpipe use and self-efficacy to quit among male waterpipe smokers in Viet Nam. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted with 214 adult male waterpipe smokers enrolled in a large cluster-randomised controlled trial conducted in a rural province in Viet Nam. Associations between social norms related to waterpipe smoking and the participants' confidence to quit waterpipes were assessed using hierarchical regression models to account for differences among study sites and other covariates. Results: Self-efficacy to quit smoking was positively associated with immediate family members' not minding participants smoking and with extended family's encouragement to quit smoking. Conclusions: The findings suggest the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the functions and characteristics of the social context of waterpipe smoking, including the social networks of waterpipe smokers, to inform effective cessation interventions for waterpipe smokers.